New ‘National Treasure,’ Rebuilding Notre Dame, a Legend in Search of Harmony
Disney+ goes on a treasure hunt in a YA spinoff of the National Treasure franchise. PBS’ Nova goes behind the scenes of the rebuilding of Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral after a devastating fire. An ABC special finds EGOT John Legend returning home to Ohio to heal a community through choral music.
National Treasure: Edge of History
How refreshing to meet a young hero whose superpower is her wits and brains. In a spinoff of the National Treasure movie franchise, Lisette Olivera stars as Jess, an undocumented 20something who embarks with her friends on a quest for ancient treasure that could also shed light on her family’s past. Jess has an affinity for puzzles—her life goal is to be a crypto-analyst for the FBI—which makes her a natural for this caper, which includes a side trip to a secret room in Elvis Presley’s Graceland estate. On her trail: Catherine Zeta-Jones as a villainous black-market antiquities dealer. Fans of the films will recognize Harvey Keitel as former FBI agent Peter Sadusky and Justin Bartha as computer expert Riley Poole, the sidekick of (the so-far unseen) Benjamin Franklin Gates.
History buffs will also want to check out Rebuilding Notre Dame, a special edition of Nova, following the engineers, masons and timber workers who have been toiling for three years to restore the iconic Gothic cathedral in Paris, nearly destroyed in a 2019 fire. Among the challenges: repairing holes in the vault, restoring antique stained-glass windows, and shoring up the new roof and spire.
EGOT winner John Legend knows the power of music, turning to chorus director David Brown to work his magic in his hometown of Springfield, Ohio. The mission: create a chorus of strangers in a divided community to raise their voices in harmony in only one week.
The Yule Log:
- A New Diva’s Christmas Carol (8/7c, VH1): Ashanti has a Dickens of a holiday in this romp as a cold-hearted R&B icon turned reality-show judge who is visited by three ghosts (Vivica A. Fox, Eva Marcille and Robin Givens) to show her that life can be like a love song again.
- A Saturday Night Live Christmas Special (8/7c, NBC): Two words: Schweddy balls. Followed by a replay of the holiday edition of That’s My Jam (10/9c).
- Masters of Illusion: Christmas Magic 2022 (9/8c, The CW): Top magicians gather to spread holiday cheer while dazzling the audience with their sleight of hand. (If someone pulls a reindeer out of a hat, I’ll be impressed.) Preceded by a rebroadcast of Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer (8/7c).
- The Santa Clauses (streaming on Disney+): In the season finale, Scott (Tim Allen) and the Calvins race to find the Santa coat and save Christmas from the misguided Simon (Kal Penn).
- I Believe in Santa (streaming on Netflix): A romcom pairs a Christmas-phobe (Christina Moore) with a guy (John Ducey) who loves yuletide to extremes.
- Designing Christmas (10/9c, HGTV): Love It or List It’s Hilary Farr appears in a holiday romance, seen previously on discovery+, about TV co-hosts Stella and Jack, an interior designer (Jessica Szohr) and contractor (Marco Grazzini), whose off-camera chemistry could complicate Stella’s wedding plans.
Inside Wednesday TV:
- Survivor (8/7c, CBS): As the field narrows from five in the two-hour season finale, two castaways will have to make fire to get into the final three in hopes of winning the $1 million prize as Sole Survivor. Followed by the ever-popular cast reunion at roughly 10/9c.
- The Earthshot Prize (8/7c, PBS): Britain’s Prince William presides over a ceremony from Boston honoring five innovative environmentalists for their solutions to help repair our damaged planet.
- Awake Surgery (10/9c, TLC): You might lose sleep after this medical docuseries featuring Dr. Meegan Gruber, a plastic surgeon who has developed techniques for performing surgeries on patients who stay awake through the procedure.
- Grails (streaming on Hulu): A six-part documentary from ABC News Studios profiles sneaker entrepreneurs Earl Cooper and Olajuwon Ajanaku, former Morehouse College golf champs who created the Eastside Golf lifestyle brand to promote diversity on and off the golf course.
- Kangaroo Valley (streaming on Netflix): Succession’s Sarah Snook narrates a scenic nature documentary that follows Mala, a young kangaroo in the Australian Outback, during her first year of surviving the seasons and the occasional dingo predator.
- Sandy Hook: Forever Remembered (10/9c, CNN): Anchor Alisyn Camerota reports on the 10th anniversary of the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, recounting the victims’ families’ efforts to change gun policy during a decade of carnage.